Santouka Ramen, Los Angeles
Santouka isn't just a sensation in California; it's a veritable franchise, with twenty-five locations in Japan in addition to the twelve spots in North America and the dozen or so shops in Southeast Asia. This wide reach doesn't water down the quality of their Los Angeles locations though. The ramen broth takes about twenty hours to simmer (they never boil it, they assure you), and this might be the only ramen you'll have with a pickled plum in it, their signature add-in. The sourness and the subtle crunch of the plum enhances the experience in a way that will make you wonder why every ramen place doesn't follow suit.